David Foster Wallace, author of many great works — including but not limited to Infinite Jest, which I have unfortunately not been able to finish despite multiple attempts — gave a commencement address to graduating seniors at Kenyon College back in 2005. But that was before the Internet gave birth to stuff that went viral (actually, believe it or not, YouTube was founded in 2005). Luckily for us, The Glossary made an awesome video inspired by Wallace’s speech that has now been seen by more than 3 million people. Which is great, because then maybe everyone will be a little more aware, a little more patient. You can listen to the full speech here.
Topics: social good
Charles Eisenstein’s Sacred Economics changed my life. I know that’s high praise and I certainly wouldn’t have expected anything with economics in the title to do that for me, but it did. So what the hell is this book about that I’m raving over?
It’s about how our current money system is deeply troubled and how it has to change. How our perspective that any economic growth is always a good thing is actually degrading our quality of life. But most of all how a shift has already started, what we can do to prepare for it and why we should be stoked as ever that it’s happening.
Negative interest economics, artificial scarcity, gift culture. To be honest, it’s incredibly difficult for me to mention all the ideas covered in this book and I think it would be fruitless for me to try to explain it all here. What I will say is that there’s a great connection between all of this and moving people away from tedious work to allow them to do truly important work, the work that they love. It heals the planet and builds community. That’s something we’ve always been about encouraging.
Roughly halfway through the book I found myself applying what I learned from Eisenstein to my daily life. Though he doesn’t specifically ask the reader to do any of this, I found myself as insistent as ever to buy local, finally got involved with Kiva loans and continually asked myself how I could be more giving. These were ways I could participate in something I was really starting to believe in. I’m convinced the ideas in this book are important for more people to grasp if we’re serious about evolving and transitioning into a new and better era.The short film below is what originally motivated me to read the book, so that’s an excellent start to gauge whether you’d be interested in what Charles has to offer.
I found his writing engaging and was impressed that he took every opportunity to consider other viewpoints and his critics. If you do in fact want to take the next step, I will personally gift a hard copy to two readers that are excited to check this out. Just leave a Facebook comment below saying why you are psyched to learn more. You can also read the book online or pick up as a physical copy or eBook. Charles even has several TEDx talks and other titles that you may be interested in.
I’d like to introduce you to the coolest dad ever.
Long story short, this guy was playing old-school video games like Donkey Kong with his daughter when she asked him why she couldn’t “play as the girl and save the boy”. Not one to turn down this valid point, he took to late nights hacking the ROM, replacing Mario with Pauline. The result is a super awesome Super Mario game that’s redrawn Mario’s frames with Princess Pauline’s palettes and replaced the M at the top with a P. Now that’s what I call a one-up.
Toward a gender equal future…
The MiiR Tumbler is a neat coffee/tea tumbler that gives back to those in need. Each Tumbler provides one person with clean drinking water for an entire year and comes with a unique tracking bracelet that has an engraved identification number. The personal identification number can be entered into the MiiR tracking system online, allowing you to see what project you helped fund! Isn’t that nifty? It comes in different colors, too. Yay! Options!
They say necessity is the mother of invention. You don’t have to look any further than Ingrid Vaca Diez to know it’s true.
Ingrid is a Bolivian woman on a mission to build homes for the poor using one of the only objects she can find in abundance – plastic bottles. To date, Ingrid has built 10 “Garbage Homes” using her plastic bottles-as-bricks method. She took a nearby resource, flipped the usage on its head and innovated in the face of adversity. It’s downright inspiring.
While Bolivia remains one of the poorest countries, with many families living in shoddy housing conditions, Ingrid gives us hope. She illustrates a whole new way to think about transforming our communities through contextualized design. In her case, no need for unsympathetic international housing development programs or complex government financial assistance initiatives. Instead, solutions become about using available materials that flesh out local needs.
This is a fresh perspective on how we can – and should – each individually impact and change the world around us through social innovation. Take a look below, from bottle collection to build. What will you do to turn garbage into greatness?
Hat tip to diy.org for the great find.
Another awe-inspiring socially good cause coming out of Brooklyn to support the victims of Hurricane Sandy. Check out Reclaim NYC, a local group that was founded post-storm to help raise money through design. These artists are creating furniture made from reclaimed debris, like salvaged electrical junction boxes, that they found at storm cleanup sites then auctioning them off. As the Facebook page explains, “We hope our fallen trees and storm-damaged building materials can be reborn as objects that represent the city’s recovery.”
Not only is the idea wonderful, but the furniture looks great too. Love the garbage can lamp.
Hat tip to Fastco for the share. Also, if you haven’t read it yet, check out our post on Stephen Wilkes’ photography for Sandy. Really amazing how there’re so many creatives working hard to assist the recovery effort.
Hurricane Sandy was a terrible disaster that devastated parts of the mid-Atlantic and Northeastern US during late October. In addition to hundreds dead, it’s estimated that losses due to damage and business interruption are around $65 billion. That’s more than unfortunate, it’s a tragedy of epic proportions.
But out of good can come bad, and human resilience to natural fiascos is always inspiring to watch. So, it was with extreme delight that I discovered on The Khooll that photographer Stephen Wilkes (known for his series of abandoned structures) decided to team up with TIME photo editors to offer limited edition prints of an outrageous photo that captures the odd beauty in the ugly. He’s putting up a print for sale of the Star Jet roller coaster in the ocean. It may seem crazy to be romanticizing the hurricane’s damage in such a way, but, as Ansel Adams said, “There are no rules for good photographs, there are only good photographs.”
As Wilkes himself explains, the photo is surreal, a sort of warning from a different world,
There are moments in journalism when the media captures the visual details of a disaster, yet sometimes misses the true scale of devastation. It was with that in mind that on Sunday, November 4th, I flew in a helicopter over a number of the most devastated areas hit by Superstorm Sandy. Specifically, the devastation in and around Seaside Heights, NJ, and in particular The Star Jet roller coaster at Casino Pier, which was now resting in the Atlantic Ocean. As I flew over the area, the ocean appeared dead calm; there were no waves, the water looked as if I was in the Caribbean, not the Atlantic. That contrast in itself was surreal to experience, yet as we left the devastation below, I was reminded of the iconic image in the film Planet of The Apes. Charlton Heston, riding horseback along a deserted shoreline, suddenly sees a charred structure rising out of the water, the torch of the Statue of Liberty. In a strange way this image shares a parallel universe, perhaps a warning from post-apocalyptic Earth.